Friday, 13 January 2017

Melbourne Part 3

Going back to my Melbourne trip in November. For dinner on Saturday we went to Fina's 2 in Fitzroy. This was my second trip to Fina's, which has a giant vegan Vietnamese menu.

We started with some rice paper rolls, because I love fresh rice paper rolls. I skipped the dipping sauce, though. It was too chili for me!

Rice Paper Rolls at Fina's 2

For drinks Ashleigh had their Lemon Lime & Bitters and I had the Taro Frappe. I get so excited when I find vegan taro drinks, they are purple and they taste like cookies. So good.

Lemon Lime & Bitters; Taro Frappe at Fina's 2

Ashleigh had the Bamboo Noodle Soup (which is what I had last time, though she had to get it gluten free so it didn't have the different mock meats in it). And I had the pho. These are both huge and delicious bowls of steaming hot and tasty soup. So big that we couldn't quite finish them! But they were good, so we pushed it as far as we could.

Bamboo Noodle Soup at Fina's 2

Vegan Pho at Fina's 2

We waddled home with full tummies, but still managed to have a bed dessert picnic while watching some RuPaul Drag Race season 1. We had a GF Chocolate Strawberry Brownie from Smith & Deli (so good, they make the best fruity brownies) and a slice of GF Apple Berry Pie from Fatto A Mano (adqueate, nice tart filling but the pastry was so so).

GF Chocolate Strawberry Brownie from Smith & Deli; GF Apple and Rhubarb Pie from Fatto a Mano

For Sunday morning breakfast, I tried somewhere new. We headed out to Little River Cafe in Brunswick for breakfast with Leigh. I started with a quite nice soy chai.

Soy Chai at Little River Cafe

They were launching their new menu that morning, and had a special of vegan waffles with ice cream, peanuts and chocolate syrup. Leigh braved this, along with a side of hash browns. But she reported that it was way too sweet for her (she suspected as much, but was lured by the waffles anyway). For morning sweet tooth lovers only!

Vegan Waffles and Hashbrowns at Little River Cafe

I ordered the pancakes, which came with ice cream and berries. And I got a side of hash browns and a side of vegan bacon. I was excited about the ice cream because they told me it was soy based, however when it came it was clearly coconut based. And the sort of gross too fatty coconut type, so I had to scrape it off. But the pancakes were good, and the hash browns were good. The bacon was OK, though I just don't love vegan mock bacon, I am a tempeh bacon girl forever.

Vegan Pancakes with Hashbrowns and Vegan Bacon at Little River Cafe

Ashleigh had the Hash Brown Wrap with tofu, which she said was good but needed more sauce.

GF Hash Brown Wrap at Little River Cafe

After brunch, Ashleigh and I headed into the city to see Kinky Boots. It was a lot of fun! To sustain ourselves, we picked up a couple of sushi rolls from a place in the city. No photos. They were just OK sushi. But it got us through the afternoon.

That night we had a truly special dinner at the recently opened Transformer in Fitzroy. This is a fancy place, with fancy food! We requested the vegan and GF 'Feed Me' option, which is $45 and they bring you several dishes to try. The only downside was that they took our menus away quite quickly after confirming this, so I didn't get a chance to notice the fun non-alcoholic and non-fizzy drinks they had. Oh well, water is always good.

The first dish was Organic Popcorn with Japanese Spiced Sea Salt and Nori. Normally I am not a fan of popcorn, except for that sweet and salty stuff that I can never seem to put down. But this was delicious. Wonderfully seasoned, and without that annoying texture that normally turns me off popcorn.

Oragnic Popcorn with Japanese Spiced Sea Salt and Nori at Transformer

This was followed up by an Artichoke and White Bean Dip with Caperberries, and a truly excellent GF flatbread for dipping. Of course, as always, we wished there was more bread!

Artichoke and White Bean Dip with Caperberries at Transformer

GF Flat Bread at Transformer

The Mozarella, Zucchini, Mint and Pea Salad with Currant Puree was refreshing, with the creamy mozarella and the sweet currants. My tummy can be a bit iffy with raw zucchini (zoodles are a no go in my household), but they managed it perfectly.

Mozarella, Zucchini, Mint and Pea Salad with Current Puree at Transformer

The Steamed Broccolini with Pumpkin Seeds, Barberries, Saffron infused feta, and Pecans was OK. I didn't think the flavours worked together as well as some of the other dishes. Plus they had made it quite oily.

Steamed Broccolini with Pumpkin Seeds, Barberries, Saffron infused fetta, and Pecans at Transformer

The Cumin-Braised Eggplant, Chermoula, Smoked Labneh, Quinoa Crisps and Mint was amazing yet problematic. The eggplant was divine, it just kind of melted in your mouth. Beautiful. And the crisps were fun as well. However the sauce was really just too spicy for both of us (even though I had been assured at the start that there was nothing in that night's feed me menu that was very spicy). I scraped off the sauce for the eggplant underneath, but it was spicy.

Cumin-Braised Eggplant, Chermoula, Smoked Labneh, Quinoa Crisps and Mint at Transformer

My favourite dish of the night was the Three Rice Pilaf with Lentils, Chickpeas, Pomegranate and Fried Onions. I loved the crunchy texture and the sweetness of the onions and the tartness of the pomegranate seeds. I could have eaten a huge bowl of this.

Three Rice Pilaf with Lentils, Chickpeas, Pomegranate and Fried Onions at Transformer

Of course we had to try their desserts (not included in the price of the feed me menu). Only two of their desserts were vegan, and only one of those was also GF for Ashleigh. So she had the Warm Chocolate Brownie, Salted Coconut Ice Cream, Cherry Gel and Hazelnut Ganache. This was incredibly rich, I tried a bit. The coconut ice cream was of course way too coconut fatty for me, but I scored a lot of her cherry gel which I enjoyed.

Warm Chocolate Brownie, Salted Coconut Ice Cream, Cherry Gel, Hazelnut Ganache at Transformer

I know you are confused as to why I also didn't get the above dessert, I am not shy about my love for cherry and chocolate. However I (rightly) suspected that the coconut ice cream would be gross for me. Also, I was intrigued by the other vegan dessert. Pistachio Cake with Saffron Poached Pear, Star Anise Meringue, Almond, and Lemon Thyme Sorbet just sounded too different and interesting to pass up! It was really good (and the sorbet was refreshing and not coconut fatty at all, though they put it on the side for me just in case). I especially loved the poached pear.

Pistachio Cake with Saffron Poached Pear, Star Anise Meringue, Almond, and Lemon Thyme Sorbet at Transformer

Transformer was a really delightful experience, and I would highly recommend it to everyone. I would like to go back sometime and order off the menu itself, because there are lots of yummy things on there.

One more Melbourne post to go! Then I will get to Christmas.

Cute Kitty Photo of the Post: Sahara Update


Someone decided to pull out some sutures, and so is now wearing the neck tutu. Sahara's final results came back, confirming that the mass in her colon is indeed lymphoma. As I mentioned, this is the 'best' sort of cancer to have, out of a bunch of shitty options. But obviously it is still cancer, and I am devastated that my little bear has this going on inside of her. We can't take out her stitches until the 25th, and will be starting her first week of chemo then. I really hope it works.


  1. Poor sweet Sahara. I;m glad it's the "best" kind of cancer, but I;m so sorry she has it and has to go through chemo. Hugs to you both!

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about the cancer confirmation; I hope Sahara's chemo goes well. She looks quite mischievous in her "neck tutu" (cute name for it, haha).

  3. Ah Sahara! Leave those stitches alone!! I'm sorry she's going through that, but she is soooo lucky to have you as a caring mama to be there for her. All of the food looks amazing. I'd gladly take all of your too spicy, too coconutty foods (hahahaha...two of my fave things!).

  4. I had a similar excellent feast at Transformer in December - that gf flatbread is so impressive!

    Best wishes for Sahara, I'm sorry she's going through this.

  5. Those rice paper rolls look so good! I love rice paper rolls too.
    A taro drink? Interesting. I'd be inclined to try it.
    Ah those waffles! I'd be tempted by those!
    The hashbrown wrap looks amazeballs.
    I love popcorn. Just plain coconut oil & salt though. I'm intrigued by the nori though.
    Ohhhh I love any form of artichoke dip.
    The whole meal from Transformer. Yay for gluten free awesomeness. That dessert - oh that dessert...
    Awww poor Sahara and that neck tutu :/

  6. I hope the treatment goes okay.

    That whole meal looks so fancy! And I would of picked the poached pear as well.